Among the famous alumni of the LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts — the “Fame” school — on the Upper West Side are actors Jennifer Aniston, Sarah Paulson and Adrien Brody, as well as musicians Nicki Minaj and Kelis. But one celeb grad who almost wasn’t? Timothée Chalamet.
The native New Yorker was initially rejected by the competitive school. Fortunately, one person had his back.
“He was extraordinarily gifted,” Harry Shifman told The Post. The drama teacher, who worked at the school for almost three decades before recently retiring, gave the then-13-year-old the highest score he ever doled out in an acting audition. So he was incensed when Chalamet was passed over during the interview — which could have been because of something as minor as tardiness.
“I found it outrageous that someone so brilliant could fall through the cracks,” said Shifman, who would go on to be Chalamet’s mentor. “I’m grateful the principal was open to my demands and tantrums [to get Chalamet accepted]. I’m sure she realizes now she made the right decision. Timothée was destined to be an actor.”
Hollywood agrees. When Oscar nominations are announced Tuesday, Chalamet’s name may well be called for his role in “Beautiful Boy.”
Incredibly, at the age of 23, it would be his second time: He was also nominated for Best Actor — the youngest star in 80 years to receive that honor — last year for his breakthrough role in “Call Me By Your Name.” And he has already racked up two consecutive nominations each from the Golden Globes, Critics’ Choice, Screen Actors’ Guild and BAFTA awards.
Another thing Chalamet has done twice: Squire Hollywood royalty. In high school, he was linked to classmate Lourdes Leon, the daughter of Madonna. More recently, he’s been seen loved up with 19-year-old Lily-Rose Depp, daughter of Johnny.
The two young French/American actors were first spotted kissing in New York last October, then taking it to the streets of Paris in December. Lily-Rose’s dad and model mom Vanessa Paradis reportedly approve.
Chalamet grew up in Hell’s Kitchen as part of an artsy family. Mom Nicole Flender is now a real-estate broker at Corcoran but started out as a Broadway singer and dancer. His father, Marc Chalamet, is an editor at UNICEF. Chalamet’s three-years-older sister, Pauline, who often accompanies him on the red carpet, is an aspiring actress. An aunt has been a writer for TV series including “Masters of Sex.” Grandfather Harold Flender co-wrote the 1961 Paul Newman movie “Paris Blues.”
The family spent summers in the French village of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, where Chalamet’s grandparents lived. During the school year, he attended Manhattan’s PS 87 William T. Sherman elementary school and Booker T. Washington Middle School. Chalamet appeared in commercials and short films, riding the subway to work alone by age 10. In 2012, while at LaGuardia, he had recurring TV roles in “Homeland” and “Royal Pains.”
At LaGuardia, he had a lead part in “Sweet Charity,” but lost out another leading role, in “Hairspray,” to fellow student and now-Hollywood star Ansel Elgort. A video of Chalamet rapping — as Lil Timmy Tim — for a statistics class is still on YouTube.
“Call Me By Your Name” co-producer Howard Rosenman first saw Chalamet three years ago in the play “Prodigal Son” at City Center. “He was so brilliant,” Rosenman said. “He’s this generation’s Robert De Niro and Leo DiCaprio. And gracious and cool and stylish. He’s a down-to-earth guy — a Jew from the Upper West Side.”
Next, Chalamet, who infrequently posts on Twitter and Instagram and is famous for his flashy red-carpet style, stars in a remake of “Little Women” with Saoirse Ronan and Emma Watson, and in director Wes Anderson’s “The French Dispatch.” He’ll play King Henry V in “The King,” which co-stars Lily-Rose.
The actor is also said to be in talks for a sequel to “Call Me By Your Name,” set five years after the first film. Shifman, for one, hopes Chalamet will show another side of himself. “I think he has many more dimensions we’ll be fortunate enough to see. He’s also an extraordinary comic actor!”